I was speaking with the manager of a restaurant recently when I asked a simple question. Any reader of this site knows how much I love a good simple question. It aims the conversation directly where I need it to go in a way that I can follow up on after they give a “knee-jerk” response.
Very simply I asked, “Why do you think a business owner would ask the staff to do small, time-consuming things before they leave for the night when it doesn’t add customers or save money?”
The interviewee said “He’s a MICRO-MANAGER!” I smiled and told her she was wrong.
Micromanaging is one of those terms that people like to use when they have a boss that goes over-board on ensuring his business is run a specific way and in turn gets in the way of getting the job done.
Sometimes when an owner wants something random done, it isn’t for reasons of control…although it could be. I wouldn’t put it past a bad person to be a bad owner. Power in business is something that should be wielded to keep market-share, not hurt your own team. Micro-managers are a tough lot. It is an element of TRUST that they lack, so they fire off at the mouth and end up with a small, very low profit business. On the other hand, managing the random things keeps the important things in check. How can that be, Bob??? The answer lies in the nature of being an owner.
Most employees think that a business owner is a lazy SOB who hired someone else because he wants to free up his time for a good game of golf. The truth is far from that perspective. An owner has paperwork, costs, management, marketing, and his personal life all wrapped up into the business many people resent him for having. It is a 24 hour a day job that does not get a real break where he can toss the workload over to someone else to handle. So, with less time than he would like to have, he needs to find out how healthy the business is without living in the store. (These are the paragraphs that I get the most mail about. Someone wants to add something to the list or tell me a horror story about being an owner.) These are not micro-managers. This the nature of the job of being an owner.
If you are a real business owner and not a micro-manager, you want to know how your business is being run without having to spend 100% of your time inside the four walls of the business. If you want to stay in business, you can’t be there. You have to get out and get customers in. So, how do you run a good business without having to check on everything every day? You have small, time consuming tasks that you can check on to know whether the business is being run to your standards.
I used to check handles on every piece of equipment. If the handles weren’t clean, the restaurant wasn’t clean. If you don’t clean the one part of the equipment that everyone touches, you don’t know what clean is. If that one little check is wrong, I want more answers because there is more that they are neglecting. I will do a top to bottom check of all the daily duties, run an audit, and ask the staff questions about what they think their job is at the store.
Why go for something small and not just check the big things? Because things can “look” right and still be very wrong. I have seen faked deposit slips, fraudulent inventory counts, and people on the payroll who didn’t exist. If your business is bigger than one location, you need a red flag to let you know when you need to dig deeper. It keeps the paranoia in check and lets you in a few seconds know if you need to jump in and stop everything from falling apart.
So, what can you have your team do to ensure they are managing your business the way you want?
Bob Griffin – CEO